County commissioners schedule “do-over” hearing on Op-Fund grant

County commissioners decide to “do-over” hearing on $900,000 Op Fund grant to crush 33 homes

On February 28th the Clallam County Commissioners voted 3-0 in support of an Opportunity Fund grant to the Peninsula Housing Authority to be used for the destruction of 33 perfectly good homes owned by the housing authority.  Now they must perform a “do-over.”  Why, because the stated purpose of the grant was bogus.

It was reported the grant was to build a Boys and Girls Club.  Everyone in the room knew this was bogus.

Commissioners approved the grant on the first hearing February 28th even after they were notified during the public comment session that the official notice of the grant award was bogus.  

Port O Call Publisher, Dale Wilson informed commissioners that day the notice was faulty because the daily paper reported it as a grant to build a Boys and Girls Club.  Where could they have gotten that idea?  From the official Agenda published that day stating the same thing–the grant was for construction of a Boys and Girls Club.

Where could they have gotten that idea?  From a letter written by David Alveraz, deputy prosecuting attorney, stating the grant was for the construction of a Boys and Girls Club. How could all three get it wrong without collusion?

“We’re holding this public hearing for a second time because the agenda item was noted incorrectly in the original agenda” Ozias said–as if this was the first he heard of it. 

The second public hearing is scheduled for 10:30 am, April 11 at the county commission meeting.  Anyone seeking to protest the use of tax money being used to destroy 33 perfectly good homes should let the commissioners know at this second hearing.

Commissioners complained of the cost of the re-do as if it was someone else fault.  Commissioners were duly notified of the error before they voted 3-0 to approve the grant.

It seems the Peninsula Housing Authority was a bit squeamish about the public realizing they wanted to use the proceeds of the nearly one million dollar grant of taxpayer money to crush 33 perfectly good homes and haul them to the already over-burdened landfill. 

Democrat Norma Turner, self-proclaimed “progressive,” spoke at the hearing in support of the grant to crush 33 perfectly good homes.

Peninsula Housing Authority was the subject of a recent news story on KING-5 News out of Seattle.  Millions of people learned from KING-5 that the PHA conned its clients out of $25,000 in a tool-rental scam attendant to a program where low-income families build their own homes with the assistance of the PHA.  Federal grant funds supplied the tools loaned for the program but PHA was double-dipping by also charging their clients a tool-rental fee.

Strangely this story, seen by 2,000,000 people in Seattle, has not been reported by local media except Port O Call News.

Port O Call has, for six months, attempted to get the Peninsula Housing Authority to put a price on these homes so people who have their own lot can move the homes and re-purpose them.  Port Angeles has a chronic need for affordable housing.  Thus far PHA has been reticent to put a price on the homes or publish a time-frame for when the homes will  be crushed.

Port O Call recommends the PHA leave the homes in place and find another location for their 66 new homes.

More on that topic:

You might want to consider the highlighted portions of the RCW, CCC, and CC Policies copied below.

Absent a contract with the Housing Authority that obligates the Housing Authority to build a “structure” as a part of this project, I can’t see how this project can possibly be allowed under these controlling laws and regulations.

Razing buildings does not CLEARLY result in a completed structure; it does not CLEARLY result in a capital improvement, and I doubt if you will CLEARLY find the razing in an approved overall economic development plan.

A casual observer might conclude that the original notice was written as it was to make it appear as though the project qualified for OF funds.

RCW 82.14.370
Sales and use tax for public facilities in rural counties.
(1) The legislative authority of a rural county may impose a sales and use tax in accordance with the terms of this chapter. The tax is in addition to other taxes authorized by law and must be collected from those persons who are taxable by the state under chapters 82.08 and 82.12 RCW upon the occurrence of any taxable event within the county. The rate of tax may not exceed 0.09 percent of the selling price in the case of a sales tax or value of the article used in the case of a use tax, except that for rural counties with population densities between sixty and one hundred persons per square mile, the rate shall not exceed 0.04 percent before January 1, 2000.
(2) The tax imposed under subsection (1) of this section must be deducted from the amount of tax otherwise required to be collected or paid over to the department of revenue under chapter 82.08 or 82.12 RCW. The department of revenue must perform the collection of such taxes on behalf of the county at no cost to the county.
(3)(a) Moneys collected under this section may only be used to finance public facilities serving economic development purposes in rural counties and finance personnel in economic development offices. The public facility must be listed as an item in the officially adopted county overall economic development plan, or the economic development section of the county’s comprehensive plan, or the comprehensive plan of a city or town located within the county for those counties planning under RCW 36.70A.040. For those counties that do not have an adopted overall economic development plan and do not plan under the growth management act, the public facility must be listed in the county’s capital facilities plan or the capital facilities plan of a city or town located within the county.
(b) In implementing this section, the county must consult with cities, towns, and port districts located within the county and the associate development organization serving the county to ensure that the expenditure meets the goals of chapter 130, Laws of 2004 and the requirements of (a) of this subsection. Each county collecting money under this section must report, as follows, to the office of the state auditor, within one hundred fifty days after the close of each fiscal year: (i) A list of new projects begun during the fiscal year, showing that the county has used the funds for those projects consistent with the goals of chapter 130, Laws of 2004 and the requirements of (a) of this subsection; and (ii) expenditures during the fiscal year on projects begun in a previous year. Any projects financed prior to June 10, 2004, from the proceeds of obligations to which the tax imposed under subsection (1) of this section has been pledged may not be deemed to be new projects under this subsection. No new projects funded with money collected under this section may be for justice system facilities.
(c) The definitions in this section apply throughout this section.
(i) “Public facilities” means bridges, roads, domestic and industrial water facilities, sanitary sewer facilities, earth stabilization, storm sewer facilities, railroads, electrical facilities, natural gas facilities, research, testing, training, and incubation facilities in innovation partnership zones designated under RCW 43.330.270, buildings, structures, telecommunications infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, or commercial infrastructure, and port facilities in the state of Washington.
(ii) “Economic development purposes” means those purposes which facilitate the creation or retention of businesses and jobs in a county.
(iii) “Economic development office” means an office of a county, port districts, or an associate development organization as defined in RCW 43.330.010, which promotes economic development purposes within the county.
(4) No tax may be collected under this section before July 1, 1998.

5.40.040 Use of proceeds.
Moneys received from this tax shall only be used by Clallam County for the purpose of financing public facilities serving economic development purposes in accordance with Washington statutes. The public facility must be listed as an item in the officially adopted Clallam County overall capital facilities plan, or the economic development section of Clallam County’s comprehensive plan, or the comprehensive plan of a city or town located within Clallam County.
For the purposes of this section, “public facilities” means bridges, roads, domestic and industrial water facilities, sanitary sewer facilities, earth stabilization, storm sewer facilities, railroad, electricity, natural gas, buildings, structures, telecommunications infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, or commercial infrastructure, and port facilities in the State of Washington.

Clallam County
Administrative Manual
Issue Date: 3/11/03
Opportunity Fund
Revised:
Policy 530 – 1
OPPORTUNITY FUND
POLICY 530
.1 PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelin
es for the use of funds in the Opportunity Fund.
.2 APPLICABILITY
2.1
This policy applies to all County offices/departments and agencies and to all
County Officials and their employees.
.3 DEFINITIONS
The following are definitions of terms used in this policy:
3.1
“County Official” as used in this polic
y means Elected Official and/or Department
Head.
3.2
“Opportunity Fund Advisory Board (OFAB)” is an advisory board created to
provide review of the applications and make recommendations to the Board.
3.3
“The Board” means Clallam
County Board of Commissioners.
3.4
“AG” means Attorney General.
4.0 RESPONSIBILITIES
4.1
Responsibility of the Board of Commissioners
RCW 82.14.370 provides eight-tenths of 1 percent sales tax to be returned to certain
counties to be used for construction of
public facilities th
at promote economic
development. The monies provided by the State are deposited to a County special
revenue fund according to Washington State Budgeting and Reporting System
requirements. The Board of Clallam County Commissioners has a legal and fiduciary
responsibility to ensure proper fund ma
nagement and distribution of monies.
Accordingly, the Board adopted an ordinanc
e codified as Clalla
m County Code (CCC)
Chapter 5.40. The Board maintains final auth
ority in all decisions related to the fund.
4.2
Responsibility of the Opportunity Fund Advisory Board
The OFAB was created by the Board under the authority of CCC 5.40. The OFAB is
responsible to provide critical and objective review of applications for funding and to
make recommendations to approve, deny, or modify funding requests. The Board
should be familiar with statutory restrictions
and case law on fund use, as well as
Attorney General opinions which further de
fine acceptable uses and restrictions.
Recommendations should include consideration
of the funding level and the structure of
Clallam County
Administrative Manual
Issue Date: 3/11/03
Opportunity Fund
Revised:
Policy 530 – 2
grants and/or loans. The OFAB should be aware of both current and future fund
resources and future high priority and/or high cost projects when considering individual
funding requests.
5.0
PROJECTS CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING
There are numerous community projects that ma
y be worthy of taxpayer funding. Many,
however, do not meet the statutory intent to
be funded from the Opportunity Fund. RCW
82.14.370 provides clear intent
for utilization of monies prov
ided by the State to finance
infrastructure that is a public
facility and that promotes econ
omic development. The Board
believes that the statute and legislative intent are clear. The examples used in the statute
together with AG’s opinions on eligible use pr
ovide that a “public fa
cility” is a physical,
“tangible” structure and
that infrastructure facilities are typi
cally public projects that enable
economic growth and development to occur that would otherwise be unaffordable. The AG
goes on to state that the intent of the statute is to provide broad-based infrastructure
improvements which facilitate or
foster economic development and not to fund projects which
benefit an individual business.
The Board will consider projects that clearly meet
the definition contai
ned within the statute.
Although projects may be deserving of taxpayer support, the Opportunity Fund is not intended
to provide funding for a private enterprise or to
provide funding for non-
capital facility public
projects.
6.0
GUIDELINES FOR DETERMINATION
CCC Chapter 5.40.160 through 270 addresses the
distribution of funds through grants and
loans. It does not, however, provide a definition of the criteria used to determine whether
loans should be considered as pa
rt of any funding award. Perpetuation of the fund through the
use of loans provides long-term availability of fu
nds for future projects
in Clallam County. The
Board intends to include loans as part of any funding award where the project meets the
following criteria:
6.1 Public Utility Projects
Sewers and water systems where a connection
and/or user fee may be charged and the
utility is typically operated under Washington
State law as an ente
rprise fund. These
types of projects can be operated to provide for long-term capitalization of project costs
through the user-rate structure.
6.2
Single Business, Corporation,
Developer or Development
Although the requirement for a project to be
a “public facility” and be classified as
infrastructure remains the same, some projects
have the effect of benefiting a single
business or developer. In these cases, the
use of Opportunity Funds is not intended to
replace the beneficiary’s responsibility to pr
ovide for public impacts of development.
Funds provided for public infr
astructure in these cases shou
ld be considered as loans
that otherwise might be paid by the project sponsor as impact fees.

5 Comments

  1. Mike Libera

    I guess all government-related agencies should each open an office of fraud, misrepresentation and lies. Maybe they could call it “the Office of Public Confusion” or “Public Unawareness”? Hey, think of the new jobs it could create at all the various levels . . .

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Well done, Mr. Wilson. The so-called leadership may have lost perspective as they chase one grant after another, but at least the public notice of their actions should not be deceptive.

    One lie leads to another, and before you know it, what passes for “public representation” is just a lie, a scam, and a sham. The public is not so stupid, and see some of the lies, some of the time, and become disillusioned. Mr. Ozias is the latest example of someone who talks a good line, but his votes reveal how he represents the will of the public.

    With all the problems our county faces, when are we actually going to take real action to address any of them? Here, our representatives have an opportunity to do a couple things to address a couple of problems, at once.

    With a little effort, the commissioners could form a sub-committee or advisory board to look into saving, moving and making those 33 homes available for people and families in need, in this community. We know there are no shelters, and a chronic need for low cost housing in the area.

    By doing so, they could do something to address the problems of reducing what ends up in landfills. We all are urged to recycle our soda cans, plastic water bottles and cardboard, to compost our leaves and food waste, and to do what ever we can to reduce what ends up at the landfill. But they can crush 33 houses to send to the same landfill? What kind of message does that send?

    The leadership can take this opportunity to show the community they are also concerned about the needy, the environment, and support through action the issues and policies they tell us they are concerned about, when they asked for our votes.

    If not now, when?

    Reply
  3. Anon

    PA will do anything for grant money, no matter how stupid. Just like the oldest profession.

    How do we as citizens get together to establish a new vision, a platform if you will, for a better business model and better leadership? One in which there’s still room for the loggers and millers, but also room for new people and new interests.

    Mr. Johnson gave lip service to inclusion when he ran for county, but with no intentions whatsoever of doing anything for anyone except his own logging cronies. How’s that working out for ya?

    A new vision for this area MUST include inviting entrepreneurs and non-brick&mortar revenue producers to locate here.
    Tech people who like designing gizmos. Business strategy people. Marketing & other web-based services.

    They will pay taxes, have minimal impact on infrastructure, and diversify the local economy. Which is the key. This place suffers because the socialist loggers who can’t survive without welfare have run the place for too long. There’s your problem – this place shuns anyone who isn’t a 19th century job.

    All the current issues happen because of the simpleton mindset of chasing grant money. Get with it and carve out a new 21st century economy. Other small towns are doing it.

    Reply
  4. George

    Great job, Dale. Thanks for all you do for ALL Clallum County citizens

    Reply
  5. No Name

    How many scams will the City of PA fall for? The Leftie’s baseball team is the latest. Throw money at a guy that has failed miserably in Kitsap. Even though I love baseball, this experiment is bound to fail. The attendance at a Wilder game should be a good barometer. Best of luck. You’ll need it. 😀

    Reply

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